Gardens by the Bay CEO Felix Loh named Executive of the Year for Hospitality & Leisure

The CEO of Gardens by the Bay is on the forefront of transforming the People’s Garden.

Felix Loh, CEO of Gardens by the Bay, is certainly a busy man given the extensive calendar of events and activities dedicated to refreshing offerings and introducing new attractions to Singapore’s unique icon and 2019’s Best Attraction Experience according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

At this year’s Management Excellence Awards, the executive snagged the Executive of the Year for Hospitality & Leisure for his leadership role as steward of Singapore’s horticultural wonder.

Amidst a highly competitive landscape with many available leisure and recreation options vying for people’s attention, Gardens by the Bay is fostering its research and development to distinguish itself as a world-renowned garden and leisure destination with Felix at the helm.

“Sustained efforts to research about, and introduce, new flowers to anchor the displays have included the supersized begonias grown in-house and featured in our Begonia Brilliance display. Investments were made to upscale our capability: a new cooled nursery for temperate plants and orchid cultivation was built, expanding our capacity for niche expertise in floriculture and display production,” expressed Felix.

Beyond horticulture, the executive added that the Gardens presents an experience that immerses in music and food and pop culture to enhance the visitor experience. He constantly prompts staff to meet the expectations of increasingly discerning visitors. He advocates improvements in service quality and visitor engagement and encourages staff to broaden product offerings through entertainment, recreation and education.

The Gardens is also stepping up on environmental initiatives, building on its foundation as a sustainable garden of the future and marrying nature with technology. With Felix’s support, it is piloting new technologies and embarking on more green technology in garden development and operations. One example is a smart waste management system which involves the use of gasification technology, turning waste collected in the Gardens into syngas. The combustion of syngas then produces thermal energy which is used to heat up water for potable use by the F&B outlets. The remaining carbonised waste is being experimented on for soil nutrition use.

“Another key strategy to drive the Gardens forward is through digital transformation. We are developing and implementing a digitalisation roadmap that encompasses plant analytics, automation, security, customer personalisation experience, business analytics and the creation of a digital workplace,” the executive added. As part of its innovation strategy, the Gardens recently launched a new on-demand autonomous shuttle that can find its way around at night.

Through the hard work of Felix and his 380 passionate colleagues, growth has been constantly achieved, with 2018 seeing visitorship exceed a record high of 12 million, from an initial base of 3 million in 2012. The positive results allow the company to give back to the community through beneficiary visits.

“As a People’s Garden, we are mindful of our social role, ensuring the Gardens remains accessible to all Singaporeans and builds strong relationships with the community. Through partnerships, we seek to grow our Gift of Gardens programme which plays a pivotal role in helping the less fortunate experience the Gardens. In 2018, over 33,000 beneficiaries had the opportunity to enjoy a unique garden experience – a 40% increase year-on-year,” said Felix. “We also developed more spaces to support community activities, such as the new Bayfront Plaza that opened in April 2019,” he added.

Through various initiatives and outreach efforts, the Gardens has maintained a high awareness among residents. In its annual survey, over 99% of households surveyed were aware of Gardens by the Bay, and over 88% were likely to recommend a visit to the Gardens.

The Singapore Business Review Management Excellence Awards was held on 26 November 2019 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore. Some of the previous winners include OCBC Bank, BreadTalk Group, AIA and Great Eastern Life Assurance.

The 2019 nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Henry Tan, Group CEO & Chief Innovation Officer at NEXIA TS; David Chew, Executive Director, Risk Advisory at Deloitte Southeast Asia; Lim Wei Wei, Partner and Practice Leader, Governance and Risk at Baker Tilly TFW; Yang Eu Jin, Partner and Co Head of Capital Markets Practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP; and Pardeep Singh Khosa, Director of Dispute Resolution at Davinder Singh Chambers LLC.

If you would like to join the 2020 awards and be awarded as one of the most outstanding management executives of Singapore, please email [email protected]

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